7th grader’s first book delves into the aspects of success

(l-r) Denroy Ralph, Denar Ralph, Patricia Ralph, and Brother Steve Schlitte at the book signing on February 9.
Community News Group/Sarah Valenzuela

How many authors start their career in third grade?

Denar Ralph did!

In 2018, he not only finished his first piece, but had it published.

On Friday, February 9, he held a book signing at his school, the Mount St. Michael Academy in Wakefield.

Titling his completed work ‘Climbing the Ladder to Success,’ and currently in the 7th grade, Denar focused his read on finding success through self-motivation.

“At first I wanted to write a book about becoming rich and famous,” said Denar, from Baychester. “As time went on I realized it needed to help others feel motivated.”

Originally scribbled in a standard marble notebook, Denar’s story of attaining success explains the simplicities of overcoming obstacles in his life.

Denar draws on his own life experiences, like the challenge he encountered when he learned to play the piano and sing at the same time or the difficulty of making origami art, as examples of obstacles he overcame, to name a few in the book.

“Sometimes when I’m making origami, I feel overwhelmed, like how am I going to finish all of this,” explained Denar, who sells his artworks to raise the money he’ll need to attend his dream college, Harvard University.

“When you get overwhelmed, you just have to find another way to do it,” he said.

Though written by a junior high schooler, the book was supposed to be an open read for those of all ages, according to Denar, who said those older than him could find inspiration in reading how someone younger was finding success.

“One day he came to me and told me he wrote a book and gave me a signed copy,” said Brother Steve Schlitte, principal of the junior high school. “I was really blown away when I saw that.”

Calling to his spiritual inspiration, the book’s cover includes part of a Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ.”

Publishing a book for this 13-year-old, though impressive and exciting, was not entirely surprising for many who know him, given his personality and his deep rooted Christian faith.

“I really believed in him when he told me he was going to write a book,” said Denar’s father Denroy. “I didn’t know it would be so soon, so I was really excited.”

Before Denar was born, the elder Ralph developed prostate cancer and doctors said he and his wife would never have another child.

Holding onto his faith, the family decided to forgo a procedure that he was scheduled to have. Not too much later, Patricia Ralph, his wife, was pregnant with Denar.

“We call him the child of promise and we can see the promise of God manifesting in his life,” said Patricia, who also explained that Denar is the youngest of four siblings.

“Honestly, I laughed when he told me he wanted to write a book, but this kid does not settle for less, he always strives for higher.”

As far as Denar’s future goes, the teen plans to release another book in the future, though he has not revealed any of the book’s details.

However, he mentioned one of his goals is to become President of the United States, like one of his role models, former president Barack Obama.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.

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